Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

Still reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.


What I’m Writing:

Well, I got 1200 words out this week, and while those words weren’t spectacular or full of inspiration, it’s something. Unfortunately, I’m trying to dive back into writing in the middle of a tough scene—one that was already giving me issues before I took a break. I finally had a brainwave for how to make it more exciting though, so the action is about to pick up, and I'm looking forward to that. I also did a fair amount of research, most of which won’t actually appear in the scene, but is crucial for informing how I write it.

What Works for Me:

I know this is something writers differ on, especially since we all have unique thought processes, but writing chronologically works for me. Here’s why…

a) It helps me keep the plot straight in my mind. If I jump around from scene to scene, I know my plot threads will get all snarled up. Hey, I’m easily confused.

b) I feel like the story unfolds organically, with one scene naturally leading into another. Even though I’m a staunch planner, a scene can turn out differently than I expect, and that can affect everything that comes after it. When I used to write out of order, I often found my scenes to be more like individual vignettes that didn’t necessarily hinge together the way I wanted them to.

c) If I write all the juicy scenes first, I lose my motivation to write the rest, which ends up feeling like filler. When writing chronologically, if I encounter a scene I’m not interested in, I stop and brainstorm ideas that will make it more exciting to work on. You know what they say: If a scene is boring to write, it’ll be boring to read. By not allowing myself to skip over those scenes, I force myself to up the interest level. My reward is moving on with the story.

It wasn’t until I started writing chronologically that I actually finished a novel. I’d made many attempts before, and they all ended in failure and frustration. When I decided to try a sci-fi novel, the idea was challenging enough that I thought writing chronologically would help keep me organized. Turns out that’s how I work best.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

It’s been one of those mostly boring but very productive weeks around here. After our trip, I’m good with that. We’ve thrown ourselves back into house renovations and getting rid of stuff we don’t need, want, or wish we’d never owned in the first place. The Great Book Purge of 2014 also continues. I think I’ve weeded around a dozen boxes of books by now. Our shelves are still full, so I suspect they’re multiplying like Gremlins when we aren’t looking.

Since that’s been exhausting and it's freaking cold outside, we haven’t done much else other than crash. We watched Catching Fire (prep for Mockingjay) and The Fault in Our Stars (ugly cried just as hard this time), and the hubby and I have fallen down the Gilmore Girls vortex again now that it’s on Netflix. According to him, it’s just as good the second time. I wholeheartedly agree on that. Some of the quirkiest, cleverest writing ever to grace TV.

A question for all of you: Jaime and I are thinking of adding a WUW heading for setting weekly writing goals. We’ve decided we could both use the accountability. Does that sound like something you’d all be interested in? Let us know in the comments!



44 comments:

  1. I can't write out of order either (the one exception being my dual-timeline WIP, which I guess I'm technically writing chronologically, but not in the order it will go in when it's done, if that makes sense) - too confusing!

    I love the idea of some goal-setting!

    Have a great week! :-D

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    1. I've never tried writing a dual timeline before, but it sounds like quite the challenge! Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  2. I like the idea of goal setting :D Go for it!

    I, too, am having a Great Book Purge right now. I donate them all to various charities, but so far my shelves don't seem to have more space... Probably cause the books I'm disposing of are largely DNFs...

    I used to write out of order, too, and I know *exactly* what you mean about scenes feeling more like vignettes. Everything flows better now that I write in order.

    Have a great week!

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    1. We've finally gotten to the point where we need to get rid of the old books to make room for the constant flow of new ones lol. A lot of the ones we're donating are DNFs too or else we bought them at a used book sale because they were cheap and then we never got around to reading them and probably never will. I guess someone else can enjoy them!

      I'm glad you got the whole vignette thing. I just find it so much easier to string together scenes coherently when I do it in order. Hope you have a great week too!

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  3. Goal setting sounds great!

    I love Gilmore Girls. Don't you wish it was possible to visit Stars Hollow? They should have a theme park or something :)

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    1. Isn't Gilmore Girls the best? And yes, I'm always saying how much I'd love to visit Stars Hollow if it actually existed! It really emphasizes how important setting is in a story. Seriously, if there was a theme park, I'd be there! :)

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  4. I normally write chronologically, though I sometimes skip ahead and sketch out a scene if it's particularly vivid and I don't want to forget it. But that can cause problems later on when the scenes don't quite mesh together (with my last draft, I had to do quite a bit of revising to get the timeline to flow!).

    I love the idea of weekly writing goals! (I use them anyway, but the extra accountability can't hurt!)

    I'm pretty sure my books multiply like gremlins, too, because the shelves are still overflowing no matter how many I donate to charity. :P

    I can't wait for Mockingjay! Have a great week! :)

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    1. I'm the same way. If I get an idea for a string of dialogue or sudden inspiration for a scene or description, I have to jot it down in my notebook for safe keeping. Then I slot it in at the right time. I'm paranoid of forgetting any little detail!

      Unless I'm doing a writing intensive, I don't usually set goals. I just write whenever I can, but lately my motivation has been dwindling and I need some help to force myself through that mental wall. It's a habit I really should be in though!

      I'm looking forward to Mockingjay too! I think that will be my birthday outing. :)

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  5. I'm up for adding writing goals.

    I need to write chronologically too. Otherwise I'm not in the right mindset. Even going back to do the editing can throw me off...it doesn't ring true when my character is feeling one way and I'm writing a part where she has to feel something else.

    Yay for Mockingjay! Those are some of my all time favorite book adaptations. Right up there with Pride and Prejudice. :) Have an awesome week!

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    1. That's a good point about mindset, and one I could've included in my post too. I'm big on mood and atmosphere, so switching around throws that off. I totally get that!

      I think they're doing a great job of adapting the Hunger Games trilogy to the big screen too. I wasn't so sure about splitting Mockingjay, but I've read a couple early reviews that said it was necessary, so that's good. Ah Pride and Prejudice. I need to pull out my Colin Firth version and treat myself sometime. Hope you have an awesome week as well! :)

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  6. YES to pretty much everything you said about writing chronologically. It sums up all my thoughts.

    Also yes to accountability goals :)

    I still need to watch Catching Fire, it's been hanging out in my Netflix queue for awhile now.

    Have a great week and stay warm!

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    1. Sounds like our writing process is similar! I hope you enjoy Catching Fire as much as I did. I really thought it was better than the first movie, but then I liked the book better too, so no surprise there! Have a great week yourself! :)

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  7. I love what you said about writing chronologically forcing you to make the boring scenes less dull - I'd never thought of it like that before. :)

    Personally writing goals kind of frighten me. I probably should do them because then I might get stuff done, but the likelihood is I'd stress myself out so much I wouldn't write anything and then I'd feel worse. But that's just me!

    Have a great week!

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    1. Since I've taken that approach, I think it's improved my writing a ton. It's amazing how simple it can be to spruce up the excitement in a scene with a little extra brainstorming. And it makes writing so much more enjoyable.

      Writing goals have always scared me too, but I got over that when I did Ready. Set. Write! Normally I don't set goals, because I never know where writing will take me in a week, and I kind of like that. Plus, I usually write whenever I have the free time, so goals are usually pointless. But lately I've been struggling to get back in the swing of writing, so Jaime and I thought that might help us both and other WUW people. If we add that to WUW, don't feel like you have to set goals though! Do whatever works best for you! :)

      Hope you have a great week too!

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  8. I was happy to hear that you got some words down, even if you don't love them. And that you've figured out how to up the excitement factor. Maybe that will make the words flow more. Hope so! It's funny, because I'm kind of the opposite to you when it comes to writing in or out of order. I honestly think the only reason I got through my first draft of Watch of Night was because I wrote the scenes I wanted to when I wanted to. See, the same thing applies about writing only interesting scenes. I found keeping that in mind, I didn't run into a problem of writing all the fun scenes and then being stuck with boring scenes. That said, if you've got a pretty intricate plot (like you do), it would be insanity to write out of order. 0_o

    Wow! I can't believe you have a dozen boxes of books to get rid of. I have tons of books, but I think you guys have far more. No doubt due to the annual Symphony Book Sale, right? Purging the house of junk is always so satisfying. Todd and I have tried to do it every time we moved, but I know we could get rid of more. Problem is, we're like goldfish and grow to our environment, which means more and more stuff.

    I can't believe Mockingjay Part I is out this week. I should probably watch Catching Fire again, too. It kind of doesn't fit in with the other movies I've been watching lately lol. Unrelated, but I'm looking forward to both setting goals and getting writing. I think that goal-setting is something WUW has been lacking. Have a great day, and hopefully we'll get a chance to Skype later! :D

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    1. It's been a real struggle to get back into writing. My head just isn't in it, and you know all the reasons why. I'm chipping away at it though, and hopefully I'll be back to normal soon. Upping the excitement factor involved carnage, which is horrible, but hey, that's the kind of story it is. Yes, you're opposite to me when it comes to writing order. There's something to be said about going with the inspiration when it hits too. And I think some people have more organized brains than me and can pull all those scenes together into something coherent no problem. I never would've thought I'd become so linear in my thinking. Weird.

      I can't believe how many boxes we're getting rid of either! It's insane! The funny thing is, the symphony just had an overstock sale because they had too many books in storage, so they're going to hate us when we call and ask if they want a dozen more boxes lol. We really need to purge books more often.

      I think maybe we'll go see Mockingjay for my birthday. That's sort of becoming the tradition with the Hunger Games movies. Catching Fire was awesome the second time too. Way better than the first one.

      All right, I need to hurry up so we can Skype! Looking forward to gabbing and setting goals too! :)

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  9. I also can't write out of order. I hear ya!!! I once wrote a non-linear book (chronologically it was all out of order which was fun to write and a pain in the butt to revise), but I also just kept writing in order the scenes happened. I didn't jump around.

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    1. Yes, I think revisions would be a nightmare for me if I still wrote out of order. My head is spinning just thinking about it! :)

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  10. I also write chronologically...definitely wouldn't stay too motivated if I got all my best scenes out first! Congrats on getting some words down, it can be quite difficult to get through tough scenes.

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    1. Yeah, I see those juicy scenes as rewards for writing everything else. They keep me writing because I'm eager to reach them! And thanks, I think this scene's issues are at least partly resolved (until revisions), so that's a relief! :)

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  11. Yay for new words, Erin! I laughed at what you said about your books multiplying like Gremlins. Sometimes I get the feeling the same thing is happening in my house. :-) And I'm all for goal-setting in our WUW posts. Anything that helps to hold me accountable sounds like an awesome idea. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Those new words were hard won this week for sure. My pace is picking up though, so that's good! Honestly, I'm not sure how we've accumulated so many books. Even after cleaning out a ton, once I shelved all the random piles around the house, the bookcases were full again. How does that happen? Glad you're on board for the goal setting! I could really use it! Have a wonderful week yourself! :)

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  12. I normally only write chronologically, but for my NaNo WIP, I'm actually writing out of order and feel it's the best thing for that particular project. It's helping me get to know my hero better, so after spending time with him as an adult, I can go back to the earlier sections and better write him as a teenager.

    Personal weekly goals are a good idea, though I typically only have general goals instead of goals built around a specific word count.

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    1. I suppose it would depend on the project. Some unique ideas might call for writing in a way that isn't your usual habit. Good point!

      As for goals, these wouldn't have to be based on word count. They could be whatever you want as long as it's related to working on writing. So general goals would be fine too. :)

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  13. Good luck getting that scene finished! And, I so wish I could write chronologically, but I've never been able to--my brain just doesn't work that way. That's why I think of my first draft as a loose outline.

    Oh, and I'm with you on Gilmore Girls! I started watching it on Netflix as well. I'm on the second season right now, and I agree, it was so well written, and well acted. My brain doesn't hold onto stuff very well, so it feels like I'm watching it for the first time. lol And, we already have our tickets bought for Mocking Jay Part 1! Can't wait!

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your week! :)

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    1. It amazes me how people's writing processes differ. I never thought I'd take a more linear approach, so I was surprised when that worked for me. My sister and I have discussed this a lot because she's more like you in her approach. Whatever it takes to get the job done, right?

      It's been a while since I've watched Gilmore Girls too, so it's fun rediscovering it. And yes, the acting was really well done too. I don't know how on earth they rattled off all those hilarious lines so fast! The banter is one of the best parts of the show. I'm jealous that you already have your Mockingjay tickets! Can't wait!

      Hope you enjoy the rest of your week too! :)

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    2. Yes, that sums it up pretty well: Whatever it takes to get the job done. ;)

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  14. Writing chronologically works for me too. I think perhaps if I had everything completely planned to a "T" it might be possible to write out of order, but even with a pretty detailed plan I found that the writing itself brought up better ideas that changed things later. I can only imagine that if I had written out of order it would require a lot more revision than otherwise. I am up for goal setting. I love me a good weekly goal.

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    1. Yeah, I'm an obsessive outliner and I still find that writing chronologically works best for me. And I so agree about the writing bringing up better ideas that change things. It just goes to show that the creative process still trumps planning! The thought of revising after writing out of order is overwhelming to me, especially since I could never even finish a first draft that way! As for goals, I could definitely benefit from setting a few. It's a habit I need to stick with. :)

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  15. I usually write chronologically as well. I feel the same as you- if I write the juicy scenes first, I won't want to go back and write the stuff in between. I've found a lot of the stuff I've written so far I've been bored with, so that's definitely something I'll have to fix in revisions.
    Have a great week!

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    1. Those especially juicy scenes are my rewards for writing everything else! I think writing them all first would be like eating dessert first at supper lol. Of course, some people might like that idea! Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  16. I'm in the GG vortex right there with ya.

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  17. Oooh, good advice on writing chronologically! I write higgledy-piggledy, but I run into a lot of the issues you did when you wrote that way, so maybe I should change. Hmmm. Much pondering ahead...


    I'm liking the goal-orientated idea for WUW. I usually mention my goals in the 'What I'm Writing' bit already, but I like the idea of highlighting it more and adding more accountability. But could the goals be more flexible than just word count? The longest part of my process is heavy revisions and editing (I use page goals there mostly, and usually percentages just because it makes progress clear, sometimes chapters too).

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    1. You could always try writing chronologically for a bit and see if it suits you. I was amazed at how much more it suited me than hopping around a story. Took me a long time to figure that out though!

      As for adding goals to WUW, it will definitely be flexible. Seeing as people will be at different places in the process, word count goals won't always work. I sometimes set goals according to the number of scenes I'm hoping to finish rather than focusing on number of words. Things like working on an outline, doing research, trimming words, and all kinds of other things are great goals too. Whatever suits you best, as long as it's writing related, is fine by us! The idea is just to promote accountability and encourage one another. :)

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  18. I write chronologically too. I haven't tried any other way but it works well for me so I'm sticking with it for now :)
    I've been watching Gilmore Girls again too. I love that show and one of my WIPs has a Gilmore Girl sort of dynamic going on so it counts as research, right?

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    1. If it's not broke don't fix it, right? Gilmore Girls is so addictive! I'm loving it just as much this time around. That's cool that one of your WIPs has that sort of feel to it! I definitely think watching the show counts as research then. :)

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  19. I'm with you. Writing chronologically is the only way that I tend to write. I've tried jumping around but it just doesn't really work for me. I think that's why I work on many projects at a time. And yes I think the goal-orientated idea is great. I sure need the accountability.

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    1. I can see how writing chronologically would make it easier to work on more than one project at a time. Easier to keep track of where you are in the process. I still have to stick to one WIP at a time though lol! Seems like everyone likes the goal setting idea, so I think it'll be a go on that! :)

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  20. Oh how I wish the WiP I'm working on was written in chronological order! I'm going to try and heed your advice for next time, but man, I have a tough time doing it that way. When I have a brainwave, I have to get it down, or I can't think about anything else. How do you trick your brain into having brainwaves in order? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Go you on getting rid of Stuff! And the "Great Book Purge" Hah! We did that when we moved, but we're still overwhelmed with books. Chris' "office" is essentially a library with beer making equipment. Sooo...basically a Library for Alcoholics.

    Netflix is to the psyche what warm baked bread is to body. Soooo good. Winter is so much better with good movies. Though "Winter" here, is more like "chilly Springtime" everywhere else. :)

    Hope you have a lovely week!

    p.s. I case I haven't properly thanked you before. Thank you both for hosting WUW!!!! Seriously, you guys are awesome.

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    1. When I have a brainwave I scribble it down in my notebook(s), so it's full of little descriptions, snippets of dialogue, outline info, and all kinds of other stuff. Basically that means I end up with an outline that's the size of King Kong, and I'm always swimming in notes, but it helps when it comes to doing the actual writing in order. So my notes are all over the board, but once I organize them I can draft chronologically. Does that make sense? Not sure if it's the best way to do it, but it works for me!

      A Library for Alcoholics? Ha ha! You just described our rec room. Besides the brewing equipment and the multitude of overflowing book shelves, there's also quite the selection of brewing books, so it all ties together, weirdly enough.

      Ah Netflix. Every time we think we've exhausted it, they add something awesome like Gilmore Girls. And I agree that winter is better with movies. We need something to get us through our hibernation months!

      About WUW, you're very welcome! :D

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  21. I think it is so cool that writing chronologically works for you. I skip around, and it's a pain to cement all the pieces together at the end. It's the way my process works, though, and until I can convince my brain otherwise, it's what's going to continue to happen. Good luck with this week's writing!

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